Making Denver a Cycle Haven pt. 2: Better Bike Share

Denver B-Cycle is great. I’ve used it many times during the last season. Let me say though, it has huge room for improvement.

A few ideas:

  1. Make B-Cycle a year round thing. I was disappointed when they closed B-Cycle for winter hibernation. While I can sort of understand the reasoning, its utility is severely diminished when it gets closed for a few months out of the year. Then, I get an email today that they delayed its reopening by two weeks.
  2. Saturate the city with kiosks, expand beyond Denver. This should go without saying. B-Cycle should have a thousand kiosks in the Denver area with ten thousand bicycles. For now, I’ll settle for some more outside of the core of Denver.
  3. Kiosks that actually work. I was extremely frustrated last year with some of the touch screens. They didn’t work, became unresponsive, and few times, the station two blocks from my house hadn’t woken up yet. I was unable to retrieve a bike.
  4. Bells on the bike that the hammers don’t break off of.
  5. Cheap prices, similar to Dublin’s bike share. Did you know, that for only ten euro (about fourteen U.S. Dollars), you can get a year long subscription? Much better than B-Cycles sixty-five dollar cost.

Really, I’m being very critical of B-Cycle. It is a great system. I would be entirely happy with it if I could get a bike throughout the entire year.

Volunteering for Launch of Denver’s Bike Sharing!

I’m volunteering for the launch of Denver’s Bike Sharing program, B-Cycle.

If you’re free, come stop by and say hi to me:

  • Cherry Creek Mall from 4pm to 6pm on Friday 4/23
  • Denver Health from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 4/24

According to the map, the Cherry Creek mall station looks to be at 2800 E 1st Ave and the Denver Health station is at 777 Bannock St.

Come say hi!

Car-Lite

Who would’ve thought a year ago I wouldn’t own a car? I certainly didn’t. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could get by without a car.

Well, two days ago I sold my car. The 1988 Subaru RX. It was a great little car for the period I had it. The last couple months, it barely was driven. Just sat out on the side of Downing St looking very lonely. Yes, it had cars in front and behind it to keep company, but it wanted to be driven.

Note, I’m not completely car-free. Niki let’s me borrow her car. We actually have both our names on the insurance policy now (yikes! commitment!).

Also, I recently signed up for a car sharing program called Occasional Car. If you actually sign up now, you can even get a free membership. I haven’t used the service yet, though I plan to eventually. There’s a Toyota Yaris within walking distance from the apartment. Expect a review once I have a need for it.

Its amazing where one can go with relatively little effort using a bicycle and public transportation in Denver.

Bicycle Commute Myth 1: You Need Special Clothes

There are a number of myths perpetuated about bicycle commuting. Some people seem to think the idea of riding a bicycle to and from work is such a daunting task, what with all the preparation that is involved.

One common concern people have is that you need special clothing to ride a bicycle. This can be true if you have a long a commute. However, as I’m discovering, if your commute is short enough, say five miles or less, you really don’t need special clothing. I used to regularly commute to my work, which was 6.2 miles, by bicycle with blue jeans and a shirt, which would be normal work attire.

Today, I rode roughly three miles to a job thingy wearing business clothing: a dress shirt, dress pants and a tie. Apart from shoving the end of my tie into my shirt, this clothing choice was not a problem.

Worried about your pant leg getting all greased up? A pant leg strap, small bungee cord, or rubber band work well to keep the pant leg off the chain. Got none of that? Its also possible to just shove the end of the leg into your sock. (Thanks Nathan for pointing out that I missed that on facebook)

Worried about getting your work clothes all sweaty? You can commute in just some regular athletic clothing. Similar to what you would wear at a gym. While spandex clothing does have its usefulness on a bicycle, it just is not necessary for commuting.

Snowy Bicycle Riding Tips

Here’s a short list of tips for riding in the snow:

  • Layer up. You want to be cold when you first step out, but not too cold. Your body will generate its own heat.
  • Get some full coverage fenders. Your bicycle will kick up a lot of crap and you don’t want that on your components or your person.
  • Give yourself ample time. At least twice if not three times as long of time to get from A to B. You will go much, much slower.
  • Light your bike up like a Christmas tree.
  • Studded tires aren’t exactly necessary, but they help.

Keep some of this in mind, and you too can have fun in the snow.

Check out the guys at IceBike.org. They have some great tips and stories.

Above all, stay safe!

Trek in the Snow
Trek in the Snow

    Thousand Mile Report

    Sometime last week, I reached one thousand miles on my bicycle since I purchased it in May. I must say, I am rather proud of my accomplishment.

    What I have noticed about riding:

    • Short trips are quicker via bicycle than car or feet. (Less than 3 miles)
    • My endurance and stamina has increased dramatically.
    • My resting heart rate went from 75-80bpm to 60-65bpm.
    • I drink lots of water.
    • My coworkers think I don’t own a car.
    • While I used to think 20 miles was crazy via bicycle, I now realize its not that hard at all.

    I have also upgraded a few components of my bicycle from stock form and added new things to it. I’ve probably spent way more on my bicycle than I originally intended, but it was well worth it.

    Wanna start riding a bicycle more? I highly suggest doing it. You don’t even need to purchase a new bike. Use whatever you got.  Find something used at a garage sale, or on craigslist. Really, just about any bike will work for city riding.

    Start by riding once or twice a week on a regular basis. Live within 10 miles to work? Start there. Trip to work too long? Try taking a portion of it via public transit. In Denver, all buses and the light rail have provisions for bicycles.

    After a bit it becomes just another part of your daily routine. I now find myself drooling over new fancy bicycles and keep looking at new components to upgrade to.

    In Colorado, bicycles have a right to share the road with motor vehicles.

    Share The RoadSome resources:

    1. Bicycle Colorado – Statewide bicycle advocacy group
    2. Bike Denver – Citywide bicycle advocacy group
    3. CDOT Bicycle Manual – A great overview of rules and safety tips for riding bicycles in Colorado

    Bicycle Hits Fifty Miles

    As of this morning, I have commuted a total of 50.3 miles on my new bicycle.

    I must say, bicycle commuting is quite fun and possibly addicting. Motorists, for the most part, are very respectful and polite to cyclists. The weather has been quite nice, except for one very cold afternoon (supplemented by a rather nice tail wind).

    My commute consists of 7.3 miles to Auraria Campus, then the rest of the 6.8 miles to work by light rail/bus.

    Got an old bicycle laying around? I highly suggest you pick it up and start riding. But read Colorado’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Manual first so you know the rules.

    FYI: As of August 5, 2009, Colorado will have a new set of bicycle safety laws. My favorite, three feet to pass.

    FYI2: June is Colorado Bike Month. Specifically, June 24th is Bike to Work Day.